Apple Again Tops HP, Dell in Customer Satisfaction

When it comes to phone-based technical support, Apple customers reported themselves to be more satisfied than those of Dell or HP. Compared with 2008 results, however, HP has made enormous strides, pleasing more customers on multiple fronts, which is a boost to overall customer satisfaction, loyalty and the likelihood of their recommending the brand to others.

Apple customers are once again the most satisfied customers, when it comes to phone-based technical support, according to a new survey from Vocalabs.
In 1,157 telephone interviews immediately following tech-support calls in 2009, Vocalabs reported, 64 percent of Apple customers said they were "very satisfied" with the experience, compared with 45 percent of Dell customers and 47 percent of Hewlett-Packard customers.
"Apple has historically had a reputation for a high level of customer service and satisfaction, and that reputation was borne out once again by our survey results," wrote Peter U. Leppik, Vocalabs' CEO and the author of the report, which was introduced Feb. 4. "Apple beat both Dell and HP in every major customer service metric in our survey including company satisfaction, intent to repurchase, likelihood to recommend the company's products, call satisfaction, and problem resolution."
While Apple came out on top, HP was also a big winner, showing considerable improvements over its 2008 results.
In 2009, HP customers reported that they found it easier to reach an agent, felt they endured fewer irrelevant steps and experienced fewer problems with the automated portion of the call, or the IVR system. These changes led to a 9 percent improvement in customer satisfaction overall and a 17 percent jump in their satisfaction with the IVR system.
While 42 percent of Apple customers were "very satisfied" with the IVR system, 39 percent of HP customers and 30 percent of Dell customers said the same. While Dell's and Apple's numbers are essentially unchanged since 2008, the report states, HP's 2009 score represents a 17 point improvement-which additionally led to a 6 percent increase in HP customers' overall satisfaction.
"Rising customer satisfaction at HP demonstrates the connection between the service customers receive and their overall satisfaction with the company," Leppik said in a statement. "When things go wrong, customers need to be confident that they will receive effective, friendly, and prompt assistance. With complex consumer electronics, this is as much a part of the product as the design and packaging."
While the automated portion of the call impacts customer loyalty, and the likeliness that they'll recommend to brand to others, Vocalabs reports that issue resolution has the greatest impact of all on these two gestures.
"Eighty-six percent of customers who said their issue was resolved on the call said they were very satisfied with the call, compared to 12 percent of customers who said their issue was not resolved on the call," states the report.
Notable trends noticed in 2009, according to Vocalabs, were that 11 percent more HP customers reported having no problems with the IVR system in 2009. Customers at HP and Apple reported it was easier to reach a live person. And while customers of all three companies reported having an easier time reaching a real customer-support person, the number improved most significantly at Apple, with a jump of 10 points.